Thursday, May 04, 2006


Word of the Day

to table: (1) to put up for consideration (British and Canadian press), (2) to postpone consideration; shelve (U.S. press)

'Table' is one of those terms that contains both a meaning and the opposite of that meaning. (If anyone happens to remember what they're called, drop a note in the Comments.) The contrary meanings can play strange tricks when reading news via the internet.

For instance, today I saw a headline "UN draft on nuclear Iran tabled," from which I supposed that some affront to the Iranian regime had been postponed. But the report was from the BBC, and when taken with the story, the meaning was "Iran threatened at the UN"—

The resolution urges Iran to "suspend all enrichment-related and reprocessing activities, including research and development" and "suspend the construction of a reactor moderated by heavy water".

It threatens to consider "further measures as may be necessary" to ensure compliance - a reference to possible sanctions.

On the other hand, reading "Property tax bill tabled for 2006" and thinking in the American way, I knew immediately that some politicians were trying to avoid a decision. And sure enough, there it was in the lead paragraphs—

Floridians won't get to vote this year for the chance to move property tax protections when they do.

Instead, lawmakers suggest a study.

And my point? Just be careful. Be very, very careful.

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